Originally posted on 08/21/04
Search for missing teen pursues new leads, new strategies
By Mayna Carrasco
NewsWest 9 08/20/2004
The search continues for a missing Balmrhea girl, with police looking into three new locations, and employing new tools in their investigation.
Through all the time that has passed since she disappeared, authorities aren't giving up hope of someday locating Monica Carrasco ... or her remains. Earlier this month, they called in a psychic to aid their search for the missing girl. Now, they are using specially-trained dogs to look through areas that were pointed out.
Sage and Rip are two border collies trained to find missing people and human remains. Thursday, they were working off a tip from a psychic.
"These dogs are trained in searching for bodies," said Deputy Reno Lewis of the of the Reeves County Sheriff's Office. "That's what we were looking for on this particular deal. according to the psychic."
At the first stop - a historical church where authorities say Monica's uncle, Abel Baeza, would often bring the teen to pray - the dogs searched inside the small structure, dug through a pile of dirt near the church, and a nearby pile of rubble.
"To see if we could follow up on some of the leads that they have had, and see if dogs would 'hit' on anything that we came across," explained Diane Whetsel of Search Dogs Southwest.
But the dogs did not come across any clues at the first site, so they moved on to a second area. Unfortunately, the ground here was now covered by Balmorhea Lake, so the dogs couldn't search that site.
Then they moved on to the third site - a vacant field about five miles north of Balmorhea. The dogs searched what looked like a shallow grave, yelping as they dug through the pile of rocks. But they found nothing.
"We came out to some sites the sheriff's office wanted us to search," said Whetsell. "We did that and, unfortunately, we didn't come up with anything."
But Deputy Lewis is not giving up.
"We're following up any leads that come in," he stressed. "Until we find her, we'll continue on."
According to authorities, the teen disappeared from the Balmorhea home of her uncle, Abel Baeza, on October 2 of last year. Lewis said he is looking into all kinds of lead to find the missing teen.
"I've got two other leads that we're working on pretty heavy," he reported. "We're just waiting to see what direction it will take us."